Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has urged Filipinos to emulate the courage and values of Philippine national hero Dr. Jose Rizal by standing up and fighting for the rights and freedom of the country and its people, especially during these challenging times.
In her message on Rizal Day today (Dec. 30), De Lima reminded Filipinos that now is not the right time to resort to silence because silence will only empower the oppressors who continue to promote a culture of fear and repression in the country.
“Sa panahong muling nangingibabaw ang takot, pagkaduwag at pagiging sunud-sunuran ng marami para sa ambisyon at kapangyarihan, maging Rizal tayong matapang na naninindigan; maging Rizal tayong naghahanap ng lunas hindi para lang sa iilan, kundi para sa mas nakararami nating kababayan; maging Rizal tayong mulat, nakikipaglaban at nangangarap na masilayan ang bukang-liwayway sa madilim na yugto ng ating kasaysayan,” she said.
Celebrated annually every Dec. 30, Rizal Day commemorates the life of Rizal who is widely known for being a Filipino nationalist and revolutionary.
Rizal, who was executed at Bagumbayan (present day Luneta or Rizal Park) on December 30, 1896, stood up and defended the Philippines and his countrymen against the then abusive Spanish government, which resembles the tyrannical rule of the present administration.
In remembering Rizal’s heroism, De Lima recalled that he chose to speak truth to power and be the voice of Filipinos despite warnings from others to keep silent about the cruelty and injustice under the Spanish colonial rule.
“He left the comfortable life and faced the dire consequences of fighting for the rights and freedom of our country and countrymen,” she said.
“Ito ang dakilang ambag ng ating Pambansang Bayani: Ang pagsisiwalat sa mga baluktot at mapaniil na sistema, ang pagtatanggol sa karapatang pantao at pagtataguyod ng makatarungang reporma,” she added. (30)